An independent voice and a forum for debate for those who find Dartmoor a source of livelihood or inspiration

News From July 2015

Dartmoor Folk Festival

Posted in Events on Monday 27th July 2015 at 9:30pm

The Dartmoor Society is one of the sponsors of the Dartmoor Folk Festival, which will be held this year on the 7th, 8th & 9th August 2015 in South Zeal near Okehampton in Devon. There is a packed programme of concerts, ceilidhs, workshops, song and music sessions, a children’s festival, craft displays, folk service, a Dartmoor ramble and much more.

For more information, including a full programme of events, please visit

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Dartmoor Society Barbecue

Posted in Events on Tuesday 21st July 2015 at 10:36pm

52 Members and guests attended the Dartmoor Society annual Barbecue and walk on Friday 17th July at Leusdon Memorial Hall.

The event started with a thoroughly absorbing walk led by Dr Tom Greeves which commenced at Bel Tor Corner and even the heavy showers couldn’t dampen the spirits of those that attended.

After Tom’s fascinating walk everyone re-convened at Leusdon Village Hall where Tanya and Barry Welch barbecued the very tasty hand-made sausages produced by Downing’s butchers in Tavistock and Elisabeth Greeves had worked tirelessly to produce a sumptuous array of additional buffet food which included seven different flavoured quiches, potato salad, pasta salad, rice salad, French bread and butter and a wide range of yummy desserts.

Dr Tim Harrod who also attended the event kindly displayed his newly produced exquisite soil map of Dartmoor and the attendees were captivated by its content. All in all it was both a fascinating and truly enjoyable evening.

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Response from Natural England to letter sent by the Dartmoor Society regarding Dartmoor Ponies

Posted in Responses/Comments on Wednesday 15th July 2015 at 8:06am

The Dartmoor Society are delighted to receive a long awaited reply from James Cross of Natural England to our Chairman’s original letter dated 27th May 2015 on the subject of “Ponies on Dartmoor and grazing calendars for agri-environment Schemes”. Sincere thanks to John Holmes for his assistance in obtaining James’s response.

James Cross’s letter is shown in its entirety below.

Natural England
Natural England Mail Hub
Block B, Whittington Road

7 July 2015

Dear Dr. Greeves

Ponies on Dartmoor and grazing calendars for agri-environment schemes

Thank you for your letter to James Cross of 27th May: he has asked me to reply on Natural England’s behalf. We have received a lot of correspondence on this issue since the item in the Western Morning News and it is encouraging that people care so much about ponies. Natural England owns a small herd of Dartmoor ponies that does an important job in helping us to manage our East Dartmoor Woods and Heaths National Nature Reserve, as well as adding greatly to the enjoyment of our visitors. We are quite clear that for many reasons the ponies should be a valued part of the landscape of Dartmoor long into the future.

Alongside the Dartmoor National Park Authority, we work with the Dartmoor Pony Society, the Friends of the Dartmoor Hill Pony, the Dartmoor Hill Pony Association, The Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust, the commoners’ associations and other interested parties to help ensure that is the case. Primarily this has been by developing management agreements which provide financial support to farmers and commoners to help them with their careful management of their livestock and Dartmoor’s landscape.

Grazing by both cattle and ponies can be beneficial for nature on Dartmoor: the overall stocking level and timing are the most important factors in helping nature to thrive. It is the commoners’ associations and individual agreement holders who make the detailed decisions on the precise mix on ponies, sheep and cattle on the moor at any one time. However, I can assure you that there is no plan at all for Natural England to remove ponies from grazing calendars and replace them with other types of animals.

Understanding is the key to implementing effective grazing regimes so additional information is always welcome. Perhaps The Dartmoor Society could share its research through the Pony Action Group chaired by the National Park Authority? We are working with them and the Commoners Council to scope out what more research would be most useful to all interested parties. Our lead on this topic is Naomi Oakley

Yours sincerely

John Holmes
Area Manager
Devon, Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Team,
Natural England

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Summer Fairs 2015

Posted in Events on Thursday 9th July 2015 at 10:32pm

We are pleased to announce that the Dartmoor Society will have a stand at Chagford Show which is taking place on Thursday 20th August as well as Whitchurch and Sampford Spiney Sheepdog Trials taking place on Saturday 29th August.

We will also be attending Widecombe Fair which is taking place on Tuesday 8th September.

We will be delighted to see everyone attending these shows so please look out for us, do visit us on the stand to have a chat as well as enjoying all the other exhibits. See you there.

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